Sunday, 27 December 2020 09:46

Let it snow (mana): MTG's top 10 snow cards

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An Abominable Treefolk in a snowstorm. An Abominable Treefolk in a snowstorm. MAGIC UNTAPPED

The snow supertype, which originated in the Ice Age set back in 1995 (well, technically, as the supertype didn't actually appear as written on a card until Coldsnap), is one Magic mechanic that never really got its due. The mechanic of utilizing a more specific style of land was an interesting one, and it added some great flavor to sets like Ice Age, Alliances, and Coldsnap, but ultimately the details of the supertype conflicted with the game's basic rules just a little too much. And snow-based cards are no longer legal in Standard.  At least, that'll be true until Kaldheim comes out in February.

Including lands, there were a total of 110 cards that utilized snow in some way -- either as a mechanic, a card type, or as part of their mana cost. We've tracked down what we think are the ten best cards of the lot at this point in time, and all of them come from just two of the four snow-related sets.

10. Scrying Sheets (Coldsnap, 2006)

Scrying Sheets

Obviously, if you're building a deck around snow, you're going to need some snow lands in there, but Scrying Sheets adds quite a bit more value than just that. For a total of two mana (plus the tapping of this mana-producing land), you get a chance at drawing a second card per turn, every single turn. If you've got a deck full of snow permanents, this card could seriously accelerate your growth, or it can help save you in a pinch.

9. Abominable Treefolk (Modern Horizons, 2019)

Abominable Treefolk

A 4/4 with trample is good enough on its own, but if you're playing nothing but snow lands, then Abominable Treefolk is a creature that only grows more powerful with each passing turn. The additional creature tap adds a bit more force to seal the deal.

8. Skred (Coldsnap, 2006)

Skred

If you have a deck full of snow lands and snow permanents, then Skred is an absolute monster. For the cost of only a single mana, you can destroy creatures of practically unbounded size. If you've been putting out a new snow land every single turn, Skred scales just as much as the creatures your opponent is putting out, so you should be able to put down almost anything that's bothering you. This is great removal if we've ever seen it.

7. Marit Lage's Slumber (Modern Horizons, 2019)

Marit Lage's Slumber

There are only two cards that allow you to bring out the ultra-powerful Marit Lage and this is one of them. If you put this card out early, you get a quick scry if you need it (and another for each snow permanent you play afterwards) as well as a looming threat for your opponent to deal with. And if you already have ten snow permanents on the field, then for the cost of two mana and crossed fingers, you get to throw down a truly terrifying force on your next turn.

6. Rimefeather Owl (Coldsnap, 2006)

Rimefeather Owl

Here we have an even better version of the Abominable Treeefolk. This card will take a little while to get onto the battlefield, but once you have the needed mana, you've most likely got a 7/7 creature with flying that's only going to grow larger with each passing turn. The ability to create even more Snow permanents with every turn just makes the growth even more ridiculous. 

5. Ohran Viper (Coldsnap, 2006)

Ohran Viper is a card that goes above and beyond normal deathtouch cards. Not only can it destroy any creature it attacks, but you benefit even if your opponent lets the attack through, allowing you to draw a card. Anytime this creature attacks, your opponent is left in a no-win situation. It doesn't utilize snow mana or permanents itself, but as a snow creature, it qualifies for a spot on our list.

4. Coldsteel Heart (Coldsnap, 2006)

Any card that makes your mana curve steeper is one you'll want to hold onto, but Coldsteel Heart takes it even further. Not only can you use this card to create mana of a specific color (as opposed to the colorless mana or fixed single color that artifacts frequently create), but due to the rules governing the snow supertype, you can use this card to create snow mana of a specific color, making it perfect for your all-snow land decks.

3. Blizzard Specter (Coldsnap, 2006)

Blizzard Specter features one of the more potent combinations in the game: "whenever [cardname] deals combat damage to a player" and "flying." Unless your opponent has some defense against flying creatures on hand, this card is going to be wreaking havoc on your opponent's plans, and for a relatively low mana cost as well. So long as your opponent isn't bouncing creatures with activate-on-entry abilities, you should be happy playing this card in any sort of deck. 

2. Adarkar Valkyrie (Coldsnap, 2006)

Even without the tap ability, the numbers more-or-less work for this card being a 4/5 flying creature with vigilance for six mana. It's creature's ability, however, really makes it seem like a top-tier card. It's reliable recursion in white for any of your creatures in order to keep any one of them from dying each turn. Even more powerful, though, is Adarkar Valkyrie's ability to steal your opponent's creatures and bring them under your control so long as you can destroy them first.

1. Dark Depths (Coldsnap, 2006)

Card two of two of those that bring the iconic 20/20 Marit Lage into play.  Dark Depths is a card that has been banned in multiple formats based upon just how easily it can be (dare we say it) broken.  In fact, there are a variety of lands-based decks in Legacy (one of the few formats that allow the card) that can be very formidable.  And each one of those decks are centered around interacting with Dark Depths as a win condition, whether it be by removing the counters via Vampire Hexmage, copying it (sans ice counters) via Thespian's Stage, or elsewise.  Check please.

How will this list change with the nordic-inspired Kaldheim set and the new snow cards that it will bring?  Time will tell.